What About Alcohol at Church?

Q.  We moved into our new building this September and now need a policy on the use of alcohol at church functions. The issue seems to be freedom and personal responsibility vs. our church condoning potentially destructive, dangerous, addictive behavior. Also, it's been suggested that we sell beer at a public event to raise money.

A. "Our church culture—not our rules—does not expect alcohol at committee meetings or work sessions, and I have never seen that tested," says Jonathan Williamson, Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, CO (275). "At purely social events people sometimes bring their own wine or beer if there is a meal. I would really hesitate to go public with the sale of beer. Image and liability problems could be large and very negative."

Representatives of several congregations noted that alcohol is generally permitted at social functions and discouraged at committee meetings and work sessions. Many congregations permit its use at special events when the building is rented by outside parties, but require board approval each time.

About the Author

  • Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.

For more information contact interconnections@uua.org.

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